Flash Fiction: Helen’s Hunt

Today’s challenge based on a random plot-line generator is…

“A Character changes clothes. A character is annoyed through most of the story, a character breaks something important to them.”

I’m giving myself around 1000 words again.

Off we go.


“This has got to be the dumbest treasure hunt I’ve ever been on.”  Helen mumbled, although there was no-one around she was still conscious of anyone listening to her. She checked the time on her iPhone, it was still early.

It had been Helen’s best friends idea for her hen party. Each hen was given a list of things to both collect and accomplish, some were easy but most weren’t.

Helen had already crossed off the most embarrassing lines. ‘Have your photo taken with someone who doesn’t speak English’, and ‘get a video of you swearing loudly in a busy place’. Both events embarrassed Helen to her core, but despite feeling humiliated, she had to beat Polly and it was those thoughts that kept her going forward.

To Helen, Polly represented everything she despised. Polly had always had the looks and the body. She’d used them to get her claws into a rich guy at 18, and married him. She hadn’t worked a day in her life, her looks had gotten her everything she ever wanted. Helen was not so fortunate, she was not overly attractive and she thought herself dumpy. She had been married, but her husband cheated on her and they are now going through a divorce. Helen is also in a job she hates. Worst of all Polly owned the company where she worked. Helen has to keep up this pretence of friendship for her own livelihood.

Though that doesn’t mean that she has to let her win, it’s the small victories like this that kept Helen going. Helen looked down at the next item on the list.

Visit a fancy dress shop, rent the most ridiculous costume you can and then be the costume in a public place.

“You have to be kidding me! Well at least I can cover my face.”

Helen hopped in a taxi and directed the driver to drop her off at the nearest Fancy Dress shop. She paid the driver, took a deep breath and walked through the door.

The shop was filled with all manner of costumes; medieval knights, cavemen, princesses, animals. There were racks of brightly coloured costumes, and the walls were lined with a variety of masks.

A tall thin man wearing a badly fighting green suit, beamed back at her from behind the counter. “Afternoon Miss. Anything I can help you with?”

“Erm yeah.” Replied Helen “It may sound odd but I need to rent your most ridiculous costume.”

The man looked a little confused and weary. “The most Ridiculous. I see.”

“It’s for this whole challenge thing.” Helen continued, although the man’s eyes hadn’t questioned the request. “Oh, I don’t suppose there’s one that would cover my face is there?”

Helen mentally slapped herself. “The man is not insulted and you’re sounding like a crazy person now.” She thought.

The man behind the counter chuckled “It’s fine, I think I met another one of your group about ten minutes ago. Tall blonde lady”

“Polly! Crap that means I’m behind. Gimme what you got.”

Sensing the urgency the man hurried off into the back room, and returned with a giant bundle of yellow foam and feathers. “Here you go madam, the chicken costume.

“Really? No! It doesn’t matter I’ll take it.” Helen threw a handful of notes at the man behind the counter and rushed off towards the changing rooms.

A few minutes later Helen emerged as a six-foot chicken, her face almost entirely obstructed by a foam chicken head. Only her jaw set in a determined position was visible from the bottom of the hood.

“Look after my clothes. I’m going out.” Helen announced, grabbing her iPhone off the side.

The counter-clerk just nodded and waved casually as she left the shop.

The street was full of people going about their daily lives. A few people turned round when they saw her, and she could feel the embarrassment burning her from the inside, but this is something she was doing.

She set her iPhone up on a nearby wall and set the video to record.

Setting her hands on her hips, she flapped her arms and screamed as loud as she could. “COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!”

At this point it was as if everyone just stopped what they were doing to turn round and look at her. Hundreds of pairs of eyes, just turned and stared with a mixture of amusement and confusion.

“In for a penny, in a for a pound” she thought to herself as she imitated a chicken scratching in the dirt. Then flapping more vigorously and crowing. Though the people soon grew bored and Helen become something to be ignored rather than watched. She grabbed her iPhone off the wall and ran back into the building to get changed.

“I hope it’s worth it.” The man behind the counter commented as Helen dashed back into the changing room.

“Oh it is, or it will be.”

The door opened again and an attractive blonde woman stepped into the shop her arms full of a brightly coloured costume.

“Thanks I’m here to return this. Helen? Hi. How you getting on?” Said Polly with a broad patronising grin.

“What? Good. I’ve just done the last thing, so just gotta get back first back to win.”

”Huh, me too. I guess it’s a race then? Bye”. Polly dashed out of the shop, followed seconds later by Helen.

The two women hurtled down the street with amazing speed considering they were wearing high-heels. The finishing point was the ‘Burnt Ember’ pub, where the bride-to-be would be waiting. The pair sprinted towards the pub. Helen was feet away from the door when the unthinkable happened. She misjudged the distance of the kerb, and tripped, banging her shin on the kerb. A small black rectangle bounced out of her pocket, it bounced once on the pavement, split into several bits with the largest bit plopping down a nearby drain.

Helen was silent as she saw her iPhone disappear for good. Without her phone she had no proof that she had done anything. Polly had won again.

Polly glanced over her shoulder, and smiled at Helen. Not stopping to help she continued into the pub to claim her prize.

Helen sat down on the kerb. A tear more of rage than sadness rolled down her cheek. She’d had enough, Polly would pay.


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